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Phone Calls Put Kittles on Hold

February 24, 1996|From Associated Press

VILLANOVA, Pa. — The stage was set.

With 14 points against No. 3 Connecticut in a nationally televised game on Sunday, Kerry Kittles would have become Villanova's all-time scorer in his final college game in Philadelphia.

But because of some improper telephone calls, the senior swingman won't get that curtain call.

Kittles, leading scorer for the fourth-ranked Wildcats and 1995 Big East player of the year, has been suspended by the NCAA for three games for unauthorized use of a university telephone credit card.

"I'm totally embarrassed for letting down Villanova University," Kittles said. "I hope my teammates, coaches and the fans can forgive me for being so selfish. I'm truly sorry.

"I knew what I was doing was wrong. I've learned that you have to abide by the rules. I hope that someday I'll regain your trust. I'm human, things happen."

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound New Orleans native wouldn't say who he had been calling.

Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo said there were a "significant number of calls over several months."

DeFilippo refused to say how much the charges totaled, but said Kittles and his family have repaid the debt in full.

The school reported the violation of an NCAA bylaw that states: "It is not permissible to allow student-athletes to use any credit card or telephone for personal reasons without charge or at reduced cost."

Kittles won't play again until the Big East and NCAA tournaments.

Kittles, who holds 13 school records, averages 20.3 points and 7.2 rebounds for Villanova (23-3, 13-2 in the Big East), which has a 10-game winning streak.

He needs 14 points to pass Keith Herron and become the Wildcats' career scoring leader with 2,171 points.

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